Photograph by George Sakkestad Former students from the Los Gatos High School class of 1942 Harry
Federico, left, and Dale Jones embrace during their 75th class reunion that was recently held at Vasona
Reprinted from Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: June 30, 2017
by JudyPeterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet the Los Gatos High School class of 1942—once 113 graduates, the class has dwindled over the years, with just 9 grads attending last week’s 75th reunion at Vasona Park.
“We figured this might be the last time we might be able to get together,” 1942 grad Bobbie Chambers explained.
Now all in their 90s, the graduates’ stories reflect their coming of age in an era that was punctuated by World War II.
“We had four or five students who were Japanese,” Chambers said. “They were moved to internment camps, so they weren’t there to graduate. It was very upsetting because they moved them out three weeks before graduation.”
One of the internees, Francis Itaya, was unable to attend the reunion due to health reasons. But reunion organizer Dale Jones picked up Itaya’s yearbook from his Pollock Pines home en route to the reunion; it had been signed by many of their classmates. One entry said, “Frannie, we sure miss you around here. This war may keep us separated … but one thing it can’t keep apart is our friendship.”
The war impacted the class of ’42 in many other ways.
“It fouled up our senior prom,” Chambers said. “The prom had to be held during the day instead of at night. And they decided we couldn’t have a senior sneak day, but we went to Santa Cruz anyway. There were a lot of cars from Los Gatos there.”
The defiant teens drove home from Santa Cruz in a caravan and then drove by the principal’s house “to let him know we were back safely. The school threatened not to let us graduate, but they relented.”
Apparently trips over the hill were just as popular 75 years ago as they are today.
“One time coming back from the summit I was low on gas, so I put my Model A in neutral and started coasting toward Los Gatos,” Jones said. “There was a couple in the rumble seat necking when I hit Moody Curve, but I couldn’t make it and we ended up straddling Highway 17.”
Jones joined the Marine Corps after graduation, and his classmate Warren Heid joined the Signal Corps.
“I learned how to send out code at 400 words a minute using some specialized equipment,” Heid said. “People could only do 14 words a minute by hand.”
Post-war, Heid became an architect and practiced in Saratoga for 40 years. He’s married to his high school sweetheart, the former Sheila Stanfield.
This may have been the final reunion for the class of 1942, but their smiles, laughter and tall tales of Los Gatos showed they sure had a swell time back in the day.